Vol. 54 No. 2 (2016)

<em>Praeter consuetudinem. (Im)politeness</em> and styles of communication in Rome

Francesca Mencacci

Published 2016-10-28


  • Impoliteness strategies,
  • Latin,
  • Rhetorica ad Herennium,
  • pragmatic competence


Through a close reading of a passage of the Rhetorica ad Herrenium this paper aims to recover some features of what the élite of Republican Rome consider linguistic impolite behavior. Describing the different strategies adopted by the participants in a “corrective interchange”, where people are normally exspected to use special devices of linguistic politeness, and commenting on it the text allow to capture what a Roman would understand under communicative im/proper behavior in such situations and to catch a glimpse of the role of pragmatic competence  in conferring distinction and confirming social identity.


Francesca Mencacci
Dipartimento di Filologia e critica delle letterature antiche e moderne
Università degli Studi di Siena
Via Roma 56
53100 Siena (Italy)